Wildlife encounters while surfing

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Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Pterodroma » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:30 pm

One of the things I love about surfing is the opportunity to observe coastal wildlife from a unique perspective.

Among the best I've had was a young Harbour Porpoise hanging out with me for a few minutes, bumping my board/legs and swimming alongside me having a good look. I also had quite a scare when a Minke Whale surfaced about 100m offshore while surfing alone at a remote spot. Loads of Grey Seal close encounters, both friendly and not so friendly...

Plenty of good birds too, from the expected seabirds to migrant passerines/waders/raptors coming in off the sea.

Anyone else indulge in a bit of bird watching while waiting for sets? Go surfing in strong onshores in the hope it will have driven seabirds inshore? Any spots with fairly regular Basking Shark sightings in late summer?

Seen any interesting wildlife while sat on your surfboard?
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Philshoz » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:55 pm

The best was a school of a dozen dolphins passing very close by at Three Bears near Yallingup in WA.

Was spooked by a small shark in Tenerife, newbie...... :oops:

Surfing a remote spot at the top of New Zealand solo when my wife was frantically gesturing on the beach, 'shark, shark' ...............................paddled in quick-snap. Where's the shark cherie?
..........................here, dead on the sand... :roll:
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby danny1 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:34 pm

Only North Sea wildlife is a bit of dogging
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby buttholesurfer » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:57 pm

Black tip reef sharks running the coast of the Outer Banks at S Turns... Thought it was odd at the start when bait fish were swarming to get on my board. Feet and hands out of the water and they passed on by...I did shite myself at the time though!
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Black » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:31 pm

Nearly shat myself when 4 dolphins breached in unison not too far away.
Usually keep my eyes peeled for creatures in and above the water. Just adds to the experience and if its a crap surf the wildlife can add a better spectacle.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby JayP » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:35 pm

Quite a few years ago I was in Byron bay on a van trip. My mate had disappeared with his girlfriend (and our van) immediately after our morning session. In his rush to go for sexytime with her he'd left me in boardshorts with my board, nothing else and nowhere to go. I thought I might as well just paddle back out as I didn't even have any money on me to get a drink and I thought he'll work it out and come back when he's done!

I didn't fancy battling the rip or the crowd so much at the Pass so thought I'd go round to Wategos and surf the fast right hander that can sometimes link up with the pass at that end of the bay. Its a bit more of an easy take off, still really wally and there was no-one on it! The water was crystal clear, it was about midday, the sun was beaming down and I was surfing reeling overhead and a bit waves for about 2 hours alone! I was having, without a shadow of doubt the best session of my life! About an hour an a half into this heavenly session a pod of dolphins went past. Probably about 7 or 8 of them. I saw them about 20m or so away, sat on my board and watched. I was pretty awestruck but didn't think that much of it as you see them daily there. Just then a nice set came in and I turned and paddled into an absolute beauty. I caught this lovely fast long, long walling wave that I managed 5 or 6 nice turns on (which to me at the time was unheard of - to be honest its still a rarity! :lol: ). When I jumped off I was fairly close to the island at the head of the pass and started to paddle back out to the line up. After 7 or 8 duckdives I was almost there. I looked up at the next wave approaching and was shocked to see it was about head high but with 4 or 5 dolphins in the wall swimming fast straight at me! I just thought "well I can't duckdive thorugh them, so I'll have to turn and go!" It was a long long shot but it could end up with me surfing a wave with 4 or so dolphins! Or so I thought!! It didn't! It ended up with a very shattered over excited me, cocking up the take off and falling head first between them and them swimming off with the wave.
I still came up whooping an screaming though!
An amazing experience. One I'll never forget and one that makes me wanna drop everything and go back to Byron every time I think of it!
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby bakers » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:17 pm

Seagulls flying really low along the wave face.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby dixie » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:01 am

1) i was sat in the line up at a spot called 38th in santa cruz.....evening sunset....200yds out.
between the crowd and the beach up pops a huuuge elephant seal !!!!
after a long stare it became aparent it was bleeding massively .....and had a 60cm bite missing out of its side...RIP ......tok 10 mins to decide whether to stay out back or paddle into the beach through the slick


2) 2 days later in a beautiful spot called 3 mile (3 miles outta town) i was un nerved in crystal water quite rocky lots of creatures splashing /surfaceing ,,,,birds boming the fish etc.

sat on my board for 20 nmins looking all around me....looked striaght down..into a pair of eyes 3 ft below me looking back up at me.......phew .seal complete with white whiskers checking me out/freaking me out.

3) sat in murky water in capitola dawn had a good sml clean session...heading back in before work.
suddenly at speed im being pulled backwards out to sea by my leash....oh shit i thought this is it.....jaws
i managed to release my leash n swim to the shallows.......almost wetting myself on the beach i explained to an old lady about to go logging.....she laughed as my board was still being towed around....."its OSCAR the seal...hes always doing it :shock: :shock:

my next wetsuit i bought in a brown /tan combo to hide the effects
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Vince Noir » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:32 am

most ive ever seen in some seals in the north sea, and had a seal pop up a few feet behind me at puts once



also found a decapitated cat at that not so secret n.devon left point break
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Black » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:00 am

dixie wrote:2) 2 days later in a beautiful spot called 3 mile (3 miles outta town) i was un nerved in crystal water quite rocky lots of creatures splashing /surfaceing ,,,,birds boming the fish etc.

sat on my board for 20 nmins looking all around me....looked striaght down..into a pair of eyes 3 ft below me looking back up at me.......phew .seal complete with white whiskers checking me out/freaking me out.
Same thing here, seals below, fish jumping out of the water to escape and a flock of guls picking them off from above. Caught on gopro.

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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Philshoz » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:13 am

As if on cue we had a moment with a seal this morning.

Very close, between us and the beach, no harm done.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Werwulf1919 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:21 am

Seals all the time but i do surf near a colony quite often. Other than that seen porpoises on several occasions and a school of dolphins a couple of times. A couple of (dead) whales and i am positive i saw a sharks fin swim past me earlier this summer :shock: . All in the north sea...oh and bloody millions of crabs.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Black » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:25 am

Werwulf1919 wrote:...oh and bloody millions of crabs.
We're not interested in your personal hygiene thanks! :-)
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby dermo909 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:10 pm

bakers wrote:Seagulls flying really low along the wave face.


I love that. It really gives you a perspective on how big the wave face is.

My usual wildlife encounters are me standing on a flounder and it squirming away!
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby surfrat » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:32 pm

bottlenose dolphin and calf swam by me on a quiet morning in Wales...amazing
ospreys diving in to catch fish 2m from me in Senegal
turtles in mexico and senegal
seals...bude, wales, woolacombe and soooo many on scottish north coast
scariest was having to duck dive under a sea lion that was surfing a wave in canada...then another big male sea lion popped up and ordered me out of the water

oh and having to shout bears off the path to the beach in canada :shock:
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Pterodroma » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:47 pm

Some great stories. Surfing wildlife is awesome, dolphins under, birds over...

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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby prjwebb » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:57 am

i had a young seal pup climb up on the back of my legs while paddling out at godrevy at the start of the summer. that freaked me out
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby baggins » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:39 am

A swan soared above me this morning.
About 5 mins later he was back this time floating about 30 ft away

Sun was rising behind him looked ace
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby tynemouthmatt » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:44 pm

Lots seals, both alive and dead. The latter wasn't a good session.

Porpoise hanging around the line up on a big stormy day.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby russneversleeps » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:14 am

Weaverfish.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby flacky » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:00 pm

Surfing a mid wales beachie a while ago, about shoulder - head high, bigger sets outside, saw a fin and a arching back so paddled like fuck, looked about 10ft long, maybe bigger, so thought it was a either a bottlenose or a minke. Saw it come out again, still a good distance away and still thinking 10-12ft long, was on it's own, paddled harder... Really should have paid more attention to the pitching lip I was trying to paddle over. HAHA! Never saw it again.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Chris F » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:08 pm

Surfing at Muizenburg, back of the line up, with dolphins going one way and southern right wales behind them going the other. Amazing.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Pterodroma » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:40 pm

russneversleeps wrote:Weaverfish.


:lol: I foul hooked one once. Never stood on one thankfully...

Plenty of fish feeding inshore during last weeks swell. Love surfing when a big shoal of Mackerel come in, often followed by dolphins or porpoises. Been a fair number of turtle sightings off Wales over the years (loads off west coast of Ireland) as they follow jelly fish blooms. Would be an awesome sight in the line up.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby rodent » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:00 pm

Puerto Viejo in Peru wins by a long shot, place is teaming with fish, birds and dolphins, never had a surf like it

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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Poo Stance » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:30 am

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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Pterodroma » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:45 am

Poo Stance wrote:Healy had a close encounter.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=15a_1383906256


:shock: there's a few of them circling him there too, time to get back on the boat!
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby North Devon Lad » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:15 am

My mate arrived in Sri Lanka a couple days ago and his second surf was cut short by a 9ft Croc roaming the line up! :shock:

Seen a few black tip reef sharks, but I got told they don't bother with humans, still shit me up a little seeing a shark shaped thing in the water!
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby ATTMFKH » Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:28 pm

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^^not my photo

5 orcas spotted near my local about 4 years ago .............. reckon I'd shit myself if I saw that
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Pterodroma » Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:11 pm

Awesome. Orca is pretty high up on my list of things to see before I die, though preferably from a boat.

You can snorkel with them in Norwegian fjords as they mostly eat fish (the teeth of some animals are worn smooth from 'sucking' them in!). However, the pod that hangs around off Shetland hunt seals. Wouldn't catch me in the water with them...

I think it was Blue Planet that showed a pod hunting seals in Antarctica by toppling them from icebergs, and the whales then using the same technique on the boat the crew were filming from, presumably with a view to eating/playing with a cameraman.

Aren't crocodiles/alligators responsible for more injuries/fatalities than sharks? Tropical river mouths scare the hell out of me.
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Re: Wildlife encounters while surfing

Postby Zac Gibson » Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:37 pm

North Devon Lad wrote:

Seen a few black tip reef sharks, but I got told they don't bother with humans, still shit me up a little seeing a shark shaped thing in the water!


'shit me up a little' a little? I remember a pretty frantic paddle back to the boat, whilst I sat on said boat thoroughly amused!
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